Following an underperforming legacy film slate, Paramount Pictures jumped at the chance to offload sci-fi drama The Cloverfield Paradox to Netflix, according to Viacom CEO Bob Bakish.
The subscription streaming video behemoth — which reportedly paid $50 million for the rights — promptly streamed the third installment in the franchise (following 10 Cloverfield Lane in 2016) globally at the conclusion of Super Bowl LII — after paying millions more for a TV commercial aired during the game. A first for a major Hollywood movie.
During the Feb. 8 fiscal call, Bakish described the arrangement —that bypassed theatrical distribution — as “bit of a one-off” deal.
“This was a unique situation that we thought was the right fit for the franchise,” Bakish told analysts. “It allowed us to take advantage of an attractive audience and really create some pretty compelling economics.”
With the domestic launch of the Paramount Network the lone positive for the studio (narrowing operating loss 28% was another) in Q1, the studio has its sights on upcoming tentpole releases Mission: Impossible — Fallout, Top Gun: Maverick, World War Z 2, branded films from Paramount Players (What Men Want, Dora the Explorer) and Paramount Animation (SpongeBob The Movie), and Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog.
Cloverfield Paradox, which received poor reviews and was slated for April release, apparently didn’t make the cut.
“We’re going to continue to focus the vast majority of our releases on traditional theaters, and we see a great opportunity there to take share driven by our ’19 slate and beyond,” Bakish said. “But, given our production capabilities and the landscape, we’re going to continue to look broadly and creatively for opportunities to create additional value for Paramount.”